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«The Smell of Blue Electricity»
COL LEGNO, CL3 15024

The Smell of Blue Electricity arises from the collaboration between the Italian contemporary composer-musician-educator Vittorio Montalti, the artistic director of the Alfredo Casella Conservatory in L’Aquila who focuses on interweaving the electronic medium within his compositions and interested in the influence of electronic sound in our culture, and the Italian, Rome-based ensemble Blow Up Percussion, which was founded in 2012 to give contemporary music a new character and was involved in multimedia productions intended to bring experimental music into an exchange with popular music. The compositional process and development of the piece The Smell of Blue Electricity was created with the collaboration of The Firenze-based Tempo Reale, founded by composer Luciano Berio, now one of the main European reference points for research, production and educational activities in the field of new musical technologies and electronic music. Tempo Reale was responsible for the sonic projection of this composition.

The Smell of Blue Electricity is conceived as a live performance and attempts to break down the traditional boundaries between composer and performer. The essence of this composition lies in Montalti’s interest in electronic media and the integration of electronic sounds and language in his compositional research. The electronic dimension, as performed by Montalti, is not an alien «supplement» to the acoustic percussion instruments of the Blow Up Percussion, but rather a media that expands the timbre and the sonic palette of the percussion instruments. Montalti does not attempt to instruct the percussion ensemble on how to interpret his composition but becomes an integral, enriching actor in the performance.

The composition was recorded at Abbey Rocchi Studios in Rome after a few performances of Montalti and Blow Up Percussion. The Smell of Blue Electricity is divided into twelve different sequences and relies on the element of fragmentation. This composition blurs the distinction between acoustic and electronic sounds through fast and immediate, real-time sound processing. It charges the nuanced interplay of Montalti and Blow Up Percussion with healthy yet subversive tension and suggests imaginative dynamics between sound and space.

Eyal Hareuveni

Vittorio Montalti (electronics), Falvio Tanzi (percussion), Aurelio Scudetti (percussion), Pietro Pompei (percussion), Luca Giacobbe (percussion)